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With lawsuit looming, Interceptor acquires original Duke Nukem dev (update)

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor Entertainment has acquired Duke Nukem creators Apogee Software, Ltd., and 3D Realms, announced Interceptor CEO Frederik Schreiber on Twitter today.

"Yes, we have indeed acquired Apogee/3D Realms," said Schreiber, confirming a report from the Danish newspaper Børsen. Reached for comment, Schreiber told Polygon that at this time he could only confirm the purchase, and added that Interceptor will release a full statement tomorrow.

Interceptor and Apogee, the legal name of 3D Realms, are currently embroiled in a lawsuit with Gearbox Software, which is charging the two companies with "unauthorized use" of the Duke Nukem intellectual property. Last month, Gearbox filed suit in federal court regarding a new Duke Nukem title called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction.

According to Gearbox's complaint, Interceptor developed the game "without consulting the Duke IP's actual owner, Gearbox," which announced in September 2010 that it had acquired the Duke Nukem rights from 3D Realms. Gearbox's lawsuit charges 3D Realms with trademark infringement, unfair competition, copyright infringement and breach of contract.

Schreiber told Polygon last week that the lawsuit was "an unfortunate situation," and said, "We have acted in good faith and are working towards a resolution." It's unclear at this point how Interceptor's acquisition of Apogee affects the lawsuit. We've reached out to all the companies involved for more details, and will update this article with any information we receive.

"yes, we have indeed acquired Apogee/3D Realms"

According to Børsen, Interceptor has appointed Mike Nielsen — who has been a partner at Interceptor since October, according to his LinkedIn profile — as the new CEO of Apogee Software and 3D Realms.

"With this acquisition, we aim to strengthen 3D Realms and protect the legend that it is," said Nielsen in an interview with Børsen. "The brand itself is very valuable, and we want to ensure the survival and return to the level at which it is renowned."

3D Realms' portfolio includes the rights to older Duke Nukem franchise titles, as well as brands such as Commander Keen and Shadow Warrior, the latter of which the company licensed to publisher Devolver Digital for Flying Wild Hog's 2013 game Shadow Warrior.

Independent studio Interceptor Entertainment was established 2010 in Aalborg, Denmark. The studio started with a fan project, a remake of Duke Nukem 3D called Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded, and came to prominence by bringing back the Rise of the Triad series in 2013 with Rise of the Triad. Apogee Software was founded in 1987 in Garland, Texas, by Scott Miller, who is still the company's CEO. Apogee started doing business as 3D Realms in 1994.

"3D Realms has always been a defining part of the PC games industry"

Update: Terry Nagy, co-founder and chief creative officer of Apogee Software, LLC, told Polygon, "Interceptor Entertainment has not acquired Apogee Software, LLC nor any of our IP including Rise of the Triad."

As detailed in our feature on the history of Apogee Software, Nagy bought the rights to the Apogee name in 2008, along with the IP for franchises such as Rise of the Triad. It was Apogee Software, LLC, that licensed the IP to Interceptor for last year's Rise of the Triad. Miller's original company is Apogee Software, Ltd., which currently does business as 3D Realms.

Update 2: According to a press release, the Apogee Ltd. / 3D Realms acquisition was made by SDN Invest, a Danish firm that is the "part-owner and principal investor" in Interceptor Entertainment.

"3D Realms has always been a defining part [of] the PC games industry," said Interceptor CEO Frederik Schreiber. "Getting 3D Realms under our wings is a huge step for us and we are extremely excited about the acquisition."

"My longtime partner George Broussard and I are extremely proud of our past, especially as developers who always tried to partner with up-and-coming studios who just needed their break. Our history shows we did that throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and I expect the new 3D Realms to continue with this tradition in full force," added 3D Realms co-founder Scott Miller. "Our industry needs more good guys, who honor the profession and fellow hard-working developers."

We've reached out to Interceptor for further details on the acquisition, and will update this article with any information we receive.

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